Of The Conquering Heroes
began their summer festival campaign last Friday
in their old hometown of Glasgow, supported
by In Tua Nua, Hipsway, The Waterboys and Lloyd
Cole. Barry McIIheney joined the adoring thousands
- 'Melody Maker' 14th June 1986 (UK)
The home of Glasgow
Rangers football team is a Protestant club for
Protestant people. Coming down from the main
road, you see this massive redbrick building
in front of you, more like a mill than a football
ground, the very last place you would expect
to find anything even close to entertainment.
Inside, it's all
narrow corridors, plush chairs and portraits
of the greats throughout the ages. The pitch
itself is surrounded by grandstands on all sides
so that instead of the traditionally seething
Kop ends behind either net, the hapless striker
here must feel he's running into massive banks
of seats that stretch somewhere into the sky.
The most obvious
manigestation of Rangers' exclusively Protestant
appeal in this football-mad city is its well-documented
refusal to sign any brilliant footballers who
also happen to be Roman Catholics. But the news
is that all this is about to change following
the appointment of a new manager, the cosmopolitian
Graeme Souness. And if the old faithful are
still reeling from that one, here's another
piece of gossip to really rub it in. For a full
12 hours last Friday,
the tricolour flew proudly over the beloved
Calm down. This
wasn't some perverted sectarian gesture from
a bunch of local boys who have long outgrown
such petty bickering. It was simply that Simple
Minds, now Glasgow's most successful export
around the world, were keen to fly the flag,
for every country represented onstage throughout
the long day and the Irish, as always, were
there in force with In Tua Nua and The Waterboys,
the latter qualifying under the Jackie Charlton
rule of dubious adoption counting for a whole
lot more than birth certificates.
Beside the tricolour
were the Scottish dragon (Hipsway, The Commotions,
the Minds themselves and probably their boys
in Mexico into the bargain), the English standard
for Lloyd Cole and catlin and the white flag
of peace directly over the stage for the 30,000
punters to hopefully get the message. Just in
case they missed it, however, the black curtains
on either side of the stage had a huge graphic
depicting a white dove on a outstretched hand,
the worldwide symbol of Amnesty International
who weren't actually getting any cash from today's
considerable gate receipts, but who were persumably
meant to benefit from the goodwill by such a
gesture and by the Minds' previous benefits
for the cause.
The crowd on the
tarpaulined pitch were strangely scattered about
all over the place while the stands were already
beginning to fill up, a curious sight explained
by the offical ruling that only 7,000 people
were to be allowed onto the hallowed turf. The
sun was directly overhead, a faint breeze blew
in from the Clyde, and the men from the Maker
were armed and ready to go. Get the picture?
Two minutes to
eight and a sign of the times. With Simple Minds
not due to go on until 8:15, the crowd on the
pitch were reliving Scotland's better moments
against the Danes when compere Billy Sloan came
strolling onto the stage, confirmed the fact
that we were running early and asked for a big
welcome to a band who have played all over the
world this year. Pandemonium.
John Giblin, Mel Gaynor, Charlie Burchill and
Jim Kerr ran onto the stage, the latter with
the mike in his hand and a coat on his back
that came straight off the sleeve of the debut
album by The Pogues. "It's great to be back
in front of the best audience in the world,"
he declared. The best audience in the world
obviously didn't think that this was such a
bad idea either. And then the Minds burst into
Now Catlin had
heard, just a rumour mind, that the first three
songs were going to last a full hour. Seriously.
Whether or not this was ever more than wonderful
gossip, it at least made the eventual reality
of three in 20 minutes seem short and to the
point. By then, of course, we'd already been
introduced to the best drummer in the world,
we'd been told the guitarist's name twice and
we knew that we would be spending the rest of
the show going up and up with you, Jim.
It may have been
the (lack of) stage lighting or maybe it was
the sparseness of the crowd immediately in front
of the stage, but this seemed to be a throughly
lacklustre performance from the local heroes,
all pomp and ceremony and seriously lacking
in any real attempts at breaking down the great
divide, twixt stage and the 23,000 paying guests
in the stands. It was just a touch unreal, an
impression compounded by Jim's predictions that
the Scottish football team would beat Germany
5-0, and Uruguay by at least seven, "cos we
deserve it". Maybe they do and maybe the Minds
deserve a suspension of the harsher critical
condemnations on their home turf - almost where
it all started for them - but to anyone who
ever loved this band only two years ago, for
their urgency and lack of pretence above all
else, it was not an altogether pleasant sight.
thing about tonight is that instead of two sides
singing different songs, you're all singing
one," announced Jimbo, no doubt delighted at
this rare show of unity through joy and revelling
in the only chance he would ever get to play
Ibrox. "Promised You A Miracle" was the appropriate
signal for a crowd invasion as the bums on seats
decided they'd had enough of this charade and
rushed into the playing area.
It helped, as
did the appearance of Robin Clark on vocals,
inevitably hailed as one of the best voices
ever to come out of America, but this time it
sounded not too far from the truth. She powered
her way through "Once Upon A Time", looked perplexed
on "Jungleland" and doubled up to great effect
on "Alive And Kicking", which was certainly
the highlight of a two-hour set of less than
Still, Jim Kerr
now looks like a pop star again after last year's
chins and he must have shed a bit more weight
tonight, running down the wings, disappearing
every now and then, only to come back with renewed
vigour and a few dramatic triple salvoes into
the air. Must be something to do with the magic
was Charlie Burchill, the man who was born to
play guitar with Simple Minds, Mick MacNeil
was Nick Rhodes, Mel Gaynor was the best drummer
in the world and John Giblin still looked like
an intruder and grimaced his way through the
show. The late inclusion of "Sun City" at least
gave some substance to the various political
references scattered throughout the set, and
the exhortation to "get rid of those evil bastards
and get involved" was par for the political
showbiz course. The final encore of "Dance To
The Music" walked off with the most unsuitable
title of the day award and then Simple Minds
walked off the stage, the crowd walked out of
the stadium and we all went home.
The basic argument
against Simple Minds is that there is a great
conceit at the heart of their music which then
touches everything they do. At Ibrox Park, that
didn't really seem to matter so much as the
fact that this band seemed hard-pressed to communicate
their genuine enthuiasm at performing in front
of their own people in this magnificent setting.
too often fell back on those little tricks and
touches used by any old rock band in any old
town and the celebrations were put on hold until
the Saturday. I know there's too much football
in the paper, but at the end of the day the
crowd trooped on to the field and some of them
must have thought that it really was all over.
I tell you, it is now.
Kicking In New York
The plush Roosevelt
Hotel in fasionable New York is awash with young
music fans with one thing in common; they all
work for, with or on their local college radio
station and are in New York for their annual
conference. Today's guest is Jim Kerr of Simple
Minds, a band who are established favourites
with the colleges. Kerr is ushered in through
a back entrance to respectful applause. Simple
Minds have just kicked off yet another world
tour and he's flown in especially from Montreal.
He looks tired but healthy and has already lost
a few of the pounds he's put on recently. The
questions come in quick and fast, from an admiring
but still critical crowd. The enquires range
from the sensible - "Why are you called
Simple Minds" - to the ridiculous - "Why
didn't you play such and such a song when you
played such and such a place two years ago?".
In between, a good time is had by all.
Paul Bursche -
'No 1' 7th December 1985 (UK)
Do you get
nervous when you're playing a big city like
Yes, because you
do get all this extra pressure. All the record
companies are there, journalists are there -
in fact only the other night we had journalists
seeing the band for the first time from countries
like Germany, Belgium and Holland. It shouldn't
matter but it does matter. I usually find myself
feeling nervous for the whole day and then five
minutes before I go on I go sod it, it doesn't
Do you think
that with records like 'Don't You' and 'Alive
And Kicking' Simple Minds are becoming poppier?
More Top 40 orientated?
Well. That all
depends on how you define 'Pop'. Take 'Don't
You' - let me tell the story for the first time
- last year a guy called Keith Forsey got in
touch and asked us to get involved in this movie,
Breakfast Club. Right away
we thought 'yeah' because we'd always wanted
to get involved in movies in terms of writing
soundtracks. I think Charles Burchill and Michael
MacNeil (guitarist and keyboards in the group)
do excellent theme music but Glasgow being a
long way from Hollywood it's not easy to get
So when Forsey
came along we relised our chance had arrived.
But when I heard this tape I didn't get that
excited. So he waited until we'd finished a
tour and then came back at us with great enthusiaim,
and he's as big a fan as can be, and finally
he came over to Britain and we worked on the
song. And after that it moved really fast. It
came out a month after it was recorded and was
quickly Number One. That's the way it happened.
We got sidetracked and we got a Number One.
It's a twist of fate. I did a few interviews
where I said I didn't like the song but I've
said that about other songs when they've first
come out. I always feel very self conscious.
I admit that the lyrics to 'Don't You' aren't
lyrics that I would have written but that's
I don't know about
being pop-orientated but Simple Minds should
always be in the Top 40, there's nothing wrong
with that. We've got this thing at the moment
where our 'cult' audience is spreading into
everday people - record buyers. And it has been
great having cult fans but when you want to
try and do something different they get really
precious. Why don't you play 'Love Song'? Why
don't you play 'King Is White And In The Crowd'?
See, I've always hated elitism and cliques.
Simple Minds should be like the Doors where
you could like a song like 'Light My Fire' without
having to go into the depth that was undoubtedly
in that song. Our music isn't a secret, it's
good soul food and deserves to be heard by everyone.
Now your music
is more acceptable you've started playing larger
venues. Does that effect your show?
We played in Montreal
last night. I think two years ago we played
in Montreal to sixty or seventy people, last
night we played an ice hockey arena! And on
way down on the plane today I read a review
of the show and it really slammed us. It was
all this Simple Minds have gone big time and
are playing stadium rock and all these other
derogatory terms. The fact is it's a challenge
to play anywhere, from the smallest club to
the biggest stadium, and I think we can handle
I saw The Jam
play in a club and they were fantastic and I
saw them play a stadium and they were awful.
Their music doesn't have the size or scope to
fit in these halls. Our music is suited to these
halls and it's where we'll probably be for the
next period. I've seen bands in these halls
and it doesn't always work but then you can
go and see someone like Peter gabriel who brings
you to the music and you forget you're in an
auditorium. You feel you're in a much smaller
place and if the band can do that it's a good
In our case, to
deny the music that and to deny the people that
would be wrong. If 12,000 people want to see
us we'll play a 12,000 seater, if 200 people
want to see us then we'll play somewhere smaller.
We can handle it.
is uplifting, almost religiously so. What are
your feelings on religion? Do you hide your
I don't think
it's hiding, just that I'm still in several
minds. And trying to speak about things you
haven't really worked out inside can be stupid.
How did it
feel doing Live Aid and how did it feel being
part of such a noble cause?
It felt great,
it really did, but on the day things moved so
fast that... even now it's hard to recollect
any memories or anything. I was just really
chuffed that I got Jack Nicholson's autograph!
I met Jack Nicholson 20 minutes before I went
on stage and that's what was going through my
mind a lot of the time we were playing. The
rest was just a haze.
On the outside
you could imagine what the backstage area was
like and a few people have said to me it must
have been terrible with all those egos, but
it wasn't like that. At night when Duran Duran
and Mick Jagger came, suddenly you needed three
or four passes to get places instead of one
pass in the day, it was great. My heart went
out backstage to Madonna. She was just about
to get married and she turned up with Sean Penn
and everyone was just like a swarm of flies
around her. At that time she was probably the
biggest star in the world yet she was just sitting
there putting on her mascara like there was
no big deal. It was really good.
to be one of the bands that really struck a
chord with the audience that day?
I had watched
some of the British bands at Wembley before
we went on and the contact the British bands
had with their audience seemed so much greater
than the American leg of the event and we made
our minds up before we went on to really try
and get into the crowd. The bands before us
had just come on and did their thing but there
didn't seem to be any closeness with the audience
and we wanted to change that.
You're a band
that seems to be influenced by your surroundings
in your music. You spent the summer in Woodstock,
(site of the famous 60s hippy festival) did
that affect you?
In some ways,
yes. The studio down there was great and the
countryside around was wonderful, really beautiful.
I remember we used to go out at night after
working and just lie on the ground looking at
the sky - and one night there was a meteor shower
which was awesome. The LP wasn't directly affected
but it was a wonderful place to be.
Will Become So Big It Can't Be Stopped...
When Jim Kerr
talked to Smash Hits back in July, the feature
began "It's been a quiet year for Simple
Minds". Things have certainly changed since
then. They've had their first American number
one, their biggest hit so far in Britain, recorded
and released their eighth LP and started on
the American "leg" of a world tour
that will bring them back home in February.
Somewhere in the midst of all this - New York,
to be precise - Jim found time to chat to Tim
Tim De Lisle -
'Smash Hits' 6th - 19th November 1985 (UK)
Countrary to what
some people will tell you, Jim Kerr and his
wife Chrissie Hynde don't live in America: the
Hynde-Kerrs, as America likes to call them,
have just moved to a house on the shores of
the Firth of Forth near Edinburgh ("What
a place," says Jim. "I mean, what
a place"). One way and another, though,
they're not there very much. Scotland, it seems,
is one of the few places where Jim didn't work
on the new album. First there was Nice, where
he went on his own to do some writing: then
(a shade less glamorous) Esher, in Surrey, where
he and Charlie Burchill and Mick MacNeil rented
a house for a month and worked out the melodies.
recording was done in London and then it was
off to New York State for the mixing, and finally
New York itself for a spot of "fine-tuning".
All this work
and travel seems to have been worth it, though
- Jim is delighted with the "Once Upon
A Time" album. "We've better melodies
now," he says, "and
we're arranging the songs better. I just think
it's a glamorous noise - it really uplifts."
A touch of arrogance here? "Well, I think
we always had a rather nice kind of arrogance.
Ten years ago, there were bands doing a lot
of talking and all they did was talk and talk,
make a few records and die. But we've always
had the belief that in the end our music will
become so big it can't be stopped..."
in Jim's room at the moderately swish Mayflower
Hotel where three-fifths of Simple Minds are
staying. They were at much swisher Morgan's,
the hip new place for pop stars, but they didn't
like it. It may or may not be significant that
three-fifths of Duran Duran are staying in Morgan's
while the only other pop personality at the
Mayflower is John Lydon. (Simple Minds like
him, "he's really funny".)
home with the children and Jim is sharing his
room with only his suitcases. "I think
when the rest of the guy's came out here they'd
all got a suitcase and a shoulder bag, and I
had seven suitcases." The contents of these
include not very many pairs of socks but absolutely
hundreds of tapes, among them Talking Heads,
Bob Dylan and a Russian choir. Jim has a wide-ranging
musical taste, it seems. He likes Prince, he
likes Dusty Springfield - he even likes Bruce
Springsteen. "It's absolutely brilliant
that Springsteen is so huge yet has almost no
sign of ego," says Jim. "It's fantastic
'cause you're brought up thinking, y'know, the
good guys don't get it. He makes very big music
as well, a very big sound. I think there's a
beauty in that size but there's also a fear
of pomposity and it's a thin line between them.
But I'm not afraid of size, y'know. I remember
being a kid and for 18 years I lived in a high-rise
block and I used to stand at the bottom of it
and look up and wonder, but I never felt in
awe of it or anything."
What does Jim
think of U2, with whom Simple Minds are so often
compared? Well, it's clear that he feels a certain
we share a vision and we share a clumsiness
as well, and we share the same kind of blood.
When I first saw U2 on TV, their expressions
looked like the ones I see on stage when I look
around me. I really, really admire them and
we've become friends - Bono came over and stayed
with me in Scotland at New Year. But I think
there's also a big difference between us - I
think our music has a sort of fermininity that
theirs lacks and personally I'm really glad
As Jim pauses
for breath, I ask what else he has in those
seven suitcases. Books. They aren't rubbishy
books, mind, but proper literature, matey -
not that he's got very engrossed in any of them.
"I've read like the first 30 pages of all
of them, but to be honest the past six months
I've been absolutely obessed with the album.
In fact, often I've been going to amovie and
I've walked out and then gone back two nights
later to see the end of it, because as long
as I have a verse to finish or something it's
very hard to concentrate."
He can't concentrate
on films or books and he's not even allowed
to read newspapers.
banned them... we didn't want our kids to grow
up and open the Daily Mirror or something and
see that junk. That's the process I'm at in
my life just now, eliminating. Good; and bad.
I hate those papers. The people who read them
are just tranquilised people it seems."
Talk of Chrissie
and child leads to my asking whether family
life has altered him. Jim ponders the question...
"I think I've always been conscious of
being part of a family, and perhaps I'm a bit
more conscious of it now but to me it's all
one family, the family I came from and the family
I'm now in... I guess it has affected me. I
was reading an interview in an American magazine,
it was two or three years old and it was with
the wife of the Polish Solidarity leader Lech
Walesa at the time when he had been taken into
captivity. And reading it made me think about
women in general, the wives of the miners as
well... I began to think what it would be like
for me if for some reason I couldn't see my
daughter. And I would never have thought about
that this time last year. It inspired me to
write 'All The Things She Said' (a track on
the new LP)."
has been making some rather less serious music
- i.e. her Number One duet with UB40, "I
Got You Babe".
great song," says Jim. "But I personally
thought they should have made more of it...
That's me in the dog house for a couple of weeks!"
Jim tidies away
his suitcases and gazes out at the New York
skyscrapers shimmering in the heat - it reminds
him of an Ultravox video, he quips with a chuckle.
he is clearly a happy man, and he's not ashamed
to say ao. "'Luckiest guys on earth' sounds
a bit gushing, but I really don't think we're
far from that. We're so lucky in what we do
and the people around us and the friends we've
made, and if I decide to go to Jamica or Moscow,
I can, and I love that..."
Jim Kerr's only
problem in life right now is a shortage of socks...
CMJ New Music (US)
of Simple Minds (a quick head count makes this
their ninth album) is fascinating to watch,
twisting among atmospherics, dance tracks, grand
pop songs and the like. On Once Upon A Time
they seize on the break point reached via "Don't
You" 's smash success to strike off again.
Jimmy Iovine (Tom
Petty, Patti Smith, Dire Straits) and Bob Clearmountain
(Bryan Adams, Jim Carroll) produce, throwing
aside Steve Lillywhite's excesses and David
Foster's calculated pop sound for a sophisticated,
dense mix where all the instruments are crystal
clear, with Jim Kerr's vocals pulling it all
Once Upon A Time
is surely Simple Minds' most consistent album,
with hardly a weak track, and a few possible
singles. The first, "Alive And Kicking," is
one of their best ever, starting with a "Don't
You-style drum pattern but striking off in many
directions, featuring vocal harmonies and soulful
backup singing. "Ghost Dancing" is the hardest
cut, most likely to please their early fans.
"Wish You Were Here" and "All The Things She
Said" are also recommended.
Bowl 21st June 1986
- Simple Minds fan club News 23 (1988)
The scene was
exhilarating. It was just after 8.20pm and the
lights dimmed. The huge bowl was filled with
the chants of approximately 50,000 fans waiting
patiently to spend the rest of the night with
Suddenly a small
figure jumped out on the stage. It was the magnificent
looking Jim Kerr, wearing black ski-pants and
a trendy purple silk jacket. A spotlight picked
him out and the crowd cheered as a strong Glaswegian
voice boomed "Hello Milton Keynes".
The rest of the band ran out on stage with their
hands in the air, then grabbing their gear as
the bassist erupted to the roar of the fans.
"Let me see your hands" shouted Jim,
then everybody clapped, not always in time but
it was still very enjoyable.
From then on Jim
had the crowd in the palm of his hand, turning
them into a frenzy of joy. The crowd pushed
and encouraged Kerr and company to the very
limits, so they gave all they had, plus more.
Then playing a tribute to the back of the crowd,
and who could forget, the front, they then launched
into 'Book Of Brilliant Things' and that's just
how iw was, brilliant. "You know something,
one of the things that makes us one of the luckiest
bands in the world is that we have a good audience
like you", said Kerr, obviously taken aback.
Then Mick MacNeil
started the introduction to 'Once Upon A Time'
as fans mumured "Where is she?", obviously
talking about Robin Clark - the sweetest voice
in America - as she usually joins the Minds
in their latest songs. Then dressed in white
she appeared as Jim introduced her as one of
America's best female singers. She sang with
them for more than half of the concert, backing
up Kerr's vocals with her own powerful voice
as Simple Minds played a collection of songs
from their latest album, including 'Alive &
Kicking' which really got the crowd clapping
and dancing around the fires they had made,
now that the air was getting cold.
They played a
lot of songs from the 'New Gold Dream' album
including the beautiful 'Big Sleep'. Although
they didn't write it they played a fantastic
'Don't You (Forget ABout Me)' which got the
fans sining the strong chrous as if they could
sing it forever.
off with a wild 'Sanctify Yourself' as the crowd
gave all they had in voice. Simple Minds left
the stage but only to come back on to sing 'Someone
Somewhere, In Summertime', with Charlie Burchill's
guitar blasting around the bowl. They left again,
then came back on for a second and final encore.
Kerr now wearing a red tartan jacket sang 'East
At Easter' sitting down with his hand in the
air, as a huge smile grew on his face as he
realises the special relationship he has with
his fans. After an excellent duet with MacNeil
on 'Love Song' and a couple of cover versions
of 'Sun City' and 'Dance To The Music', Simple
Minds left a buzzing bowl of more than satisfied
fans to go home with memories never to forget.
Simple Minds can now look forward to future
dates knowing that they will be a sure success.
- All Music Guide (US)
Riding the coat
tails of the John Hughes flick The Breakfast
Club, Simple Minds finally broke America with
their theme song "Don't You Forget About Me,"
and their 1985 release Once Upon a Time captured
the heart-wrenching excitement found in bands
such as U2.
They were now
one of the biggest names in music and Jim Kerr's
thirsting vocals became the band's signature.
Once Upon a Time, featuring producer Jimmy Iovine
(U2, Stevie Nicks, Bruce Springsteen), showcased
more of a guitar-driven sound.
The band's heavy
synth-pop beats had relaxed a bit and Charlie
Burchill's charming playing style was most noticeable.
Also enlisting the choir-like beauty of Robin
Clark, Simple Minds' popularity was expounded
on songs such as Alive & Kicking" and "Sanctify
This album was
one of their best, most likely leading the pack
in the band's album roster, because it exuded
raw energy and solid composition not entirely
captured on previous albums.
Press Release October 1985 (US)
1985 has been
Simple Minds' year - and the year this Scottish
quintet has taken America by storm. They've
had a Number One single with "Don't You
(Forget About Me)." They appeared at the
Live Aid extravaganza - in Philadelphia, instead
of their native Great Britain. They'll open
their next concert tour in this country. And
to top it off, SImple Minds have made their
first recording with American producers: "Once
Upon A Time," their third album for A&M
and eighth overall.
A shift in producers,
from Steve Lillywhite to Jimmy Iovine and Bob
Clearmountain, isn't the only change Simple
Minds have made. Vocalist Jim Kerr, guitarist
Charles Burchill, keyboardist Michael (Mick)
MacNeil and drummer Mel Gaynor have been joined
by a new member, bassist John Giblin. The group
met Giblin, who has played with Peter Gabriel,
Phil Collins, Kate Bush and others, when Simple
Minds opened for Gabriel on tour four years
ago. It just so happens that Giblin is also
says Jim Kerr, "Simple Minds have always
considered themselves an International band."
But when it came to production, they found themselves
noticing "the vibrancy of American recordings
versus British and the others you hear on British
radio. I think that's what sparked us to look
for American producers. Of course, Jimmy Iovine
and Bob Clearmountain are two of the best America
has to offer."
Iovine (Tom Petty,
Bob Segar and others) and Clearmountain (Bryan
Adams and others) offered Simple Minds a distinct
balance of discipline and spontaneity. "Jimmy
gently bullied us into focusing on our songs
in their entirety," Kerr explains. "Before
now, we generally wrote songs from the standpoint
of melody first, lyrics later. Charlie and Mick
would go into the studio and jam until they
came up with a melody; I'd absorb the feel and
write the words later.
I considered the whole style and makeup of a
song from the beginning. That resulted in more
formal song structures and tighter, more tangible
arrangements instead of our usual atmospheric
approach. I think 'Alive & Kicking' and
'Oh Jungleland' are especially good examples
on the other hand, helped Simple Minds acheive
a goal on "Once Upon A Time" that
they had long sought: translating the spirit
of their live performances to vinyl. "There's
a certain spontaneity of feel that can only
come from a band that has played together a
lot and is really a unit," notes Kerr.
And while Simple Minds' records have always
sounded good - the subtlety of 'New Gold Dream'
and the spaciolus power of 'Sparkle In The Rain'
to mind - that "live feel" has been
just out of reach. "Achieving that with
Bob was really a career dream" Kerr adds.
"In fact, I think 'Once Upon A Time' overall
is the album we've been dreaming about for three
or four years."
(Forget About Me)," a track from A&M's
soundtrack album for "The Breakfast Club,"
was written by Keith Forsey and Steve Schiff.
And while Simple Minds were certainly happy
to reach the top of the charts with that song,
it's clear that their ultimate aim is to succeed
here with their own material as they have everywhere
else in the world.
As for 1985's
American emphasis, be assured that the band
isn't about to trade in their British citizenship.
"I don't think we're making a deliberate
attempt to 'conquer' the U.S.," says Kerr.
"America has indicated a fondness for the
band, and we're doing our best to respond."
You could hardly hope for a better response
than "Once Upon A Time."
- 'World-Music' (US)
music with inspired lyrics After revisiting
this album for the first time in eleven years,
I cant imagine why Id forgotten about it to
begin with. Perhaps the fact that I had owned
it on LP originally, and my record player has
long since bit the dust?
Anyway, now that
my collection has been updated completely to
CDs I have been regretting my absence; Once
Upon a Time by Simple Minds is simply amazing.
Because Im just a music fan who cant sing or
play anything worth a lick, I lack the musical
language to describe Simple Minds style beyond
comparing them to other bands of their time.
Superficially, this collection sounds like early
U2 with a little more emphasis on the synthesizers
and backup singers. The lyrics even have a similar
quasi-spiritual overtone, poetically borrowing
phrases that could have been Praise and Worship
quotes but are probably used to describe human
relationships. For instance"You lift me up like
the sweetest cup I share with you" is from Alive
and Kicking, and from Sanctify Yourself: "So
you cant stop the world for a Boy or a Girl,
Sweet victims of poor circumstances But you
can pour back the Love, Sweeping down from above,
giving hope and making more chances Well I hope
and I pray that maybe someday Youll come back
down here and show me the way...Open up your
heart, Sanctify yourself."
The title track
also refers to Love as a white dove and repeats
that God Only Knows. Honestly, I dont know if
the band professes any specific faith, but as
a Christian myself I find their style truthful
and uplifting indeed. If Simple Minds have been
often and unfairly compared to U2, then that
is a deserved compliment in my opinion. But
as much as I like those other guys, Once Upon
a Time has its own brand of charm and energy
that makes it a great stand-alone. It almost
got my complete five-star vote if not for the
fact that at only 8 tracks, I felt it was a
bit too scant. That may not bother everybody
as much as me, however.
So, whether youre
just looking to complete an 80s collection (which
would be missing a great deal without at least
one Simple Minds cd), or whether you like its
style-brethren, Once Upon a Time has my full
(5 out of 5)